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[tuhng-stuh n] /ˈtʌŋ stən/
noun, Chemistry.
a rare, metallic element having a bright-gray color, a metallic luster, and a high melting point, 3410° C, and found in wolframite, tungstite, and other minerals: used in alloys of high-speed cutting tools, electric-lamp filaments, etc. Symbol: W; atomic weight: 183.85; atomic number: 74; specific gravity: 19.3.
Also called wolfram.
Origin of tungsten
1760-70; < Swedish, equivalent to tung heavy + sten stone
Related forms
[tuhng-sten-ik] /tʌŋˈstɛn ɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for tungsten
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • To begin with metals, uranium melts at 1150 centigrade, and tungsten at 3370 and iridium at 2350.

    Pariah Planet Murray Leinster
  • There are two styles in common use, the carbon and the tungsten lamp.

    Electricity for the farm Frederick Irving Anderson
  • Down under all that tungsten there is the place of laughter.

    The Pagan Madonna Harold MacGrath
  • Chromite moves from two principal sources; tungsten also from two.

  • What is the "efficiency" of a 40-watt tungsten lamp if it gives 34 candle power?

    Physics Willis Eugene Tower
British Dictionary definitions for tungsten


a hard malleable ductile greyish-white element. It occurs principally in wolframite and scheelite and is used in lamp filaments, electrical contact points, X-ray targets, and, alloyed with steel, in high-speed cutting tools. Symbol: W; atomic no: 74; atomic wt: 183.85; valency: 2–6; relative density: 19.3; melting pt: 3422±20°C; boiling pt: 5555°C Also called wolfram
Word Origin
C18: from Swedish tung heavy + stenstone
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for tungsten

rare metallic element, 1796, from Swedish tungsten "calcium tungstate," coined by its discoverer, Swedish chemist Karl Wilhelm Scheele (1742-1786) from tung "heavy" + sten "stone." Used earlier as the name for calcium tungstate (1770). Atomic symbol W is from Latin wolframium, from German Wolfram "iron tungstate" (see wolfram).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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tungsten in Medicine

tungsten tung·sten (tŭng'stən)
Symbol W
A hard brittle corrosion-resistant metallic element having the highest melting point of any metal and used in high-temperature structural materials and in electrical elements, notably lamp filaments. Atomic number 74; atomic weight 183.85; melting point 3,422°C; boiling point 5,555°C; specific gravity 19.3 (20°C); valence 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Also called wolfram.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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tungsten in Science
Symbol W
A hard, gray to white metallic element that is very resistant to corrosion. It has the highest melting point of all elements, and it retains its strength at high temperatures. It is used to make light-bulb filaments and to increase the hardness and strength of steel. Atomic number 74; atomic weight 183.84; melting point 3,410°C; boiling point 5,900°C; specific gravity 19.3 (20°C); valence 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Also called wolfram. See Periodic Table.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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